Think about the client journey as a marketing roadmap to your training services and classes. Another way to put it: A client journey is the complete experience a dog lover has with your business, from start to finish.
Everyone who comes into contact with your business takes a journey with you. Careful cultivation of that journey, of the pathways people have available to them, means more potential clients becoming actual ones, and more of those becoming repeat clients and raving fans who send others your way.
Every journey has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The client journey is no exception. (Though when crafted well clients tend to cycle back through rather than saying good-bye!)
Here are the 4 parts every client journey should include, and some tips for mastering them:
1. Entry Points
Each client’s journey, each client’s experience of your company, begins at an entry point. You likely have more than one, and hopefully many.
Entry points include professional referrals, such as recommendations from a vet clinic, pet supply shop, or rescue organization.
Other dog lovers may find their way to you via a personal referral from a friend, family member, or work colleague who has enjoyed your services or perhaps come into contact with your marketing materials.
Speaking of which, your marketing materials are also potential on-ramps to a client journey with your business. A dog guardian may begin their journey by picking up your print newsletter at their local pet shop or reading a good training tip sheet while waiting at their vet clinic, for example.
If your website is performing well a Google search can be another common entry point, making investing in good search engine optimization, or SEO, worthwhile.
Entry Point Pointer: The more opportunities dog lovers have to come into first contact with your business, the better. Take a moment to count and assess your current entry points. Where can you make it easier for people to find you?
2. Marketing Rest Stops
If you’re old enough to remember life before smart phones, you’ll recall when highway rest stops weren’t just places to go for a restroom and leg stretch. They were also where you stopped for maps and travel brochures to get information on where you were going and what you might find when you get there.
Similarly, you can think of each instance of your marketing as rest stops or information kiosks for your potential clients. Think of your marketing projects as opportunities to move potential clients along the path toward a purchase with you.
Your most important marketing rest stop is your website. Some dog lovers will land here first via an online search. Most, regardless of their first contact point (whether a referral or a piece of marketing material), will make a stop here for more information before deciding to reach out or purchase.
Marketing Rest Stop Pointer: To do the job well, your marketing must provide good information and clear directions. Your marketing pieces should be designed primarily to direct people to your website. Your website should be designed primarily to answer important questions (like how your service works and what it costs) and to encourage people to take action. That action might be to make a purchase (for example, register for a class) or take the first step toward becoming a client (such as reaching out to schedule a dog training consult or dog walking meet-and-greet).
3. Purchase Points
Your purchase points are the spot on the journey at which potential clients become actual ones.
Purchase points might include online sign-ups such as registering for a group puppy training class or on-demand tricks training course.
Other purchase points may be more interactive, such as a phone screening conversation in which a dog guardian schedules a walking meet-and-greet, an initial consult training appointment, or the decision at the end of an initial consult to purchase and commit to a training package.
Purchase Points Pointer: Keep your purchase points simple. Make it as easy as possible for potential clients to become actual ones by cutting any steps that aren’t absolutely necessary. Don’t risk losing people just as they’re jumping in!
4. Client Experience Points
A dog lover’s journey with you doesn’t end once they purchase. In many ways it’s only just begun as your clients move on to experience your services.
The center of that experience is the service they’ve purchased—such as you walking their dog, or their time with you in basic manners class or one-on-one training—but there are many more potential client experience points.
Every interaction, both remote and direct, is an experience point. The notes or texts you send after a dog walk, for example—and how clean or dirty you leave the dog. The appointment reminders you send, training homework handouts or videos you provide, Zoom drop-in Q&A sessions you make available between training sessions, etc.—all of these are part of your client’s experience with you.
Client Experience Points Pointer: Add points to enrich your clients’ experience with you. Is there opportunity to add more support spots to their journey—perhaps online office hours or emailed homework reminders for training clients, for example, or leaving their dog with a stuffed Kong post-walk?
Keep the Journey Going
Ideally your client journey includes opportunities to re-engage in additional services if appropriate. For example, moving on to the next training class in your program or choosing a post-training support package. Keeping clients longer reduces your marketing and sales and admin pressure while serving them more fully.
Also build in steps for gathering feedback, including reviews or testimonials for use in your marketing. You get the information you need to make your services stronger while helping bring the next wave of potential clients to your door to begin their own journeys with you.
Want help building successful journeys for your clients? Grab your spot on the THRIVE! waitlist to be first in line next time we open enrollment.